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Abortion Story in 5 Parts

by Kirsten

July 2, 2018

I went to a pro-life rally around the age of 13.  I did not understand what abortion was only that my friend and her neighbor were against them and kept showing me pictures of small feet and other propaganda.  I missed church which is kind of big deal for a person being raised Mormon. Not sure if my mom knew what I was doing. I should really ask her about it but I doubt she would remember.  I felt incredibly uncomfortable right away and remember vividly a middle aged woman in sunglasses and baseball cap standing across the street with a sign that was pro-choice, but my memory does not recall what it said.  I just remember agreeing with it and then being very uncomfortable I was at a pro-life rally, because I was very much pro-choice. I am still embarrassed to this day I was at a pro-life rally and when I see pro-life rallies I wonder how many people regret being there, especially young people.

I was a punk rock girl in beauty school in suburban Salt Lake City in the late 90’s.  Well I had pretty much let the punk part go but I was a misfit surrounded by a lot of “nice” girls.  One nice girl was actually Catholic. There are lots of non-Mormons in Salt Lake contrary to popular belief.  She was in need of an abortion and probably because of my feminist bumper stickers knew that I would help her.  She had briefly broken up with her serious boyfriend and had gotten pregnant with someone else’s baby. She had no one else she could tell and honestly I was incredibly flattered she asked me to go with her even though I barely knew her.  I was only 19, barely sexual, but wanting to be radical. It felt special to be asked. I knew one of the nurses at the clinic as she came into the coffee shop I worked at. This kind of embarrassed my beauty school friend for reasons I don’t understand but I made sure to give that nurse a free coffee the next time I saw her because she was so awesome to my school friend.

At 21 I had close friends who had abortions but still hadn’t really processed what that meant.  It wasn’t my story yet. I was 21 and newly married, no longer Mormon but still somehow married at a young age.  I got pregnant a few weeks after we got married. I was on birth control but it made me so nauseous I occasionally threw it up.  I remember throwing up right after I had taken a pill once but thought I would be fine. Turns out I wasn’t. I knew I wanted kids and would actually have my first kid a few years later but I just wasn’t ready yet.  Anyhow I was pregnant and my OB/GYN was a very pregnant doctor who said she hated to tell me that she had to refer me somewhere else for an abortion when I told her I did not want to be pregnant. The doctor who performed the abortion was actually a volunteer.  These are such kindnesses and tragedies at the same time if that makes sense. I don’t regret the abortion. I regret that we live in a society that makes me feel like I did something wrong even though I made a choice that was best for me and my husband. He wasn’t ready to be a dad either.

One of the doctors who was on call when I was giving birth had been on a hit list by pro life groups in the 90’s.  She was a mother who had her street address put on early websites of people who should be murdered for performing abortions.  I didn’t know that at the time and she didn’t deliver my baby because I was in labor for so long. A little while later I found out she delivered a friend’s baby who actually told me about the hit list.  To her it felt like a honor to have this doctor deliver her baby, a doctor who only wanted to help women make choices for their bodies. It still shocks me to this day that this wonderful doctor had been threatened for helping pregnant people.  She helped some of us end pregnancies and some of us deliver babies. These are all choices pregnant people should get to make.

 

When my kids were probably around 3 and 6 we went on vacation with my brother’s family.  My brother made some snide remark about women who have abortions being uncaring people or something along those lines.  I told him that I had an abortion and I don’t remember what else happened after that really. I just knew that I was not going to hide the fact that I had one or treat it like a shameful thing.  I was pregnant and I didn’t want to be so I had an abortion. I do not regret or mourn or feel shame. It was necessary and I am glad that I had access to a safe, legal abortion. I want all people to have access to safe, legal abortions.

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